In the past few years, the fashion industry has made strides towards inclusiveness. Although it’s now almost the norm to see models of diverse races, bodies, and gender presentations on the runway, one community that remains underrepresented is people with disabilities. This season, two events will aim to turn the tide. The Double Take fashion show on September 8 is the result of a collaboration between Open Style Lab, an organization dedicated to creating functional, wearable solutions for people of all abilities, the American biotech company Genentech, and the spinal muscular atrophy community. Andrea Saieh, an Open Style Lab 2022 Fellow, whose work will be featured in the show, adapted a purple velvet suit for author Shane Burcaw, who has SMA and uses a power wheelchair. “I added an invisible zipper down the back of the jacket for easier dressing, and stretch panels at the elbows to accommodate bending,” Saieh explained. “Matching custom-made velvet pants have two layers—a comfortable L-shaped base and an interchangeable cover that goes on top.” On September 12, the Runway of Dreams Foundation will return to NYFW for its seventh year, and will feature adaptive fashion from Tommy Hilfiger, Target, and Zappos, among others. With brands like Gucci also putting disability inclusion at the forefront, how long until the rest of the industry follows suit? We’ll be watching.—Laia Garcia-Furtado
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